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Gadget-recommendation service Measy launched a smartphone tool this week to help users find the perfect smartphone based on their needs. The engine asks users their ideal price as well as the importance of several factors including carrier, functionality (business, texting, apps and software, video/camera), customer service, and speed. It then recommends one of over 60 smartphones in the engine.
Measy’s technology pulls quotes about specific characteristics from review sources their editor-in-chief deems trustworthy, scores each characteristic, and then runs an algorithm over that to create proximity between what a person wants and how it stacks up against the products that have been reviewed.
Sources Measy deems trustworthy are those with good information but also recognition as a good source and include CNET, PC Mag, PC World, and Wired. Measy has affiliate deals with online stores, which it has chosen based on consumer recognition and anecdotal research on returns and customer service. Current affiliates include Amazon. Once a gadget has been chosen based on the quiz, the tool displays prices for all affiliate retailers where that gadget is available. Moving forward, Measy plans to partner with companies that have large technology-focused audiences and retailers with large inventories.
The service helps to narrow down the options for those 83% of us who start device searches with a broad term, such as laptop or smartphone, without any further specifications. For those who are more tech-savvy and have particular requirements, Measy also offers the option to browse devices instead of using the quiz. Even so, 80% of vistors to the site use the quiz process, regardless of type of advice, partly based on the quiz being offered on the site’s homepage and partly because the quiz is an easy way to sort through a vast amount of information quickly, something competitors do not offer.
I tested out the new tool, and both times I took the quiz, the tool suggested the iPhone for me, even though I had highlighted the importance of making calls and reliability, which AT&T has been criticized for. The quiz results do break down each component’s score, however, so for running apps and software, the iPhone received 100 out of 100 but for making calls, it only received a 70 out of 100. While the quiz is easy to use and helps to narrow down results if you have no idea what you’re looking for, you’ll still have to do a little bit more research on a product before purchasing.
Measy was created by the founders of Glassbooth, a nonprofit search engine developed in 2007 to guide people through the 2008 election process, which garnered 3 million unique visitors in its first year. With aspirations of building a larger decision-making tool, they took the idea and applied it to the for-profit industry, deciding on consumer electronics because of the increasing complexity of technology, the average consumer’s steep learning curve in a constantly changing field, and the high cost and related anxiety involved in purchasing consumer electronics, said CEO Ian Manheimer.
Measy launched on October 20 of this year and has been adding an electronics category each month, with laptops coming soon. Currently, Measy has tools for digital cameras, DSLRS, HDTVs, and netbooks in addition to smartphones. Digital cameras have been the most popular product category, with about 40% of users taking that quiz, but with the addition of smartphones that mix is shifting. Users are now taking the smartphone quiz at the same rate as the digital camera quiz.
The site also offers tips for recycling devices and hopes to expand that functionality moving forward, perhaps creating a quiz-like function to advise people on their best method for recycling based on personal preferences, said Manheimer.
Measy has received 100,000 visitors, 80,000 uniques, since they launched.
Competitors include Retrevo, which offers product and price comparisons, Wize, which narrows down devices based on functionality, such as text messaging or MP3 player for mobile phones, Hunch, which is a broader decision-making engine based not only on purchases but also on actions such as “should I dump him?”, and GDGT, from the founders of Engadget and Gizmodo, which allows you to narrow down specific product categories by requirements such as location, carrier, size, hardware, and power consumption.
The New York City-based company raised $200,000 in seed capital in March 2009 and another $50K in convertible debt last month. It is starting to have conversations regarding a Series A round this week.
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